I think one of the greatest things about gaming in general is how differently players can experience the same exact scenarios while having wildly different perspectives or interpretations of the events that occur. This short story/recap demonstrates how my brother and girlfriend made me question why I enjoy the Monster Hunter series so much, and actually passively made me feel guilty for enjoying this type of game.
As most of you may know or have heard, the "newest" Monster Hunter is set to drop a few weeks from now on the WiiU and 3DS. I have eagerly anticipated the newest iteration of this series for quite some time; Who doesn't look forward to slaying gargantuan beasts while sitting at home in their underwear, grunting? Wussies, that's who.
If you don't hunt with a giant hammer, you're probably doing it wrong.
Anyway.. I have played the demo on 3DS a few times and can say that I'm pleased; The formula hasn't changed all that much, and it was refreshing to see new areas and monsters. Hell, even seeing the new equipment was pretty cool. I soon found myself in a giddy state and decided to try to introduce the series to my brother. This is when things went bad.
My brother recently got a WiiU and was always looking for any excuse to boot it up. Knowing that the demo was on both the WiiU and the 3DS, I figured the experience would largely be the same and that this was a neat opportunity to introduce him to the series. My girlfriend was there too, and had also never seen or played Monster Hunter. We booted up the system and soon after I was starting my hunt for this unlucky guy.
Shortly after I spotted the creature, I ambushed him from behind. After getting an effective but awkward combo in with my hammer, I heard my brother's voice, "Wow, you are literally beating the fuck out of that rabbit.". It only took a moment for his comment to register inside my brain. I didn't really think much of it, and continued merrily bashing the creature at every chance I could.
"God, this is horrible!", this time, from my girlfriend. As I tried to explain the game to them, I found myself starring at the TV and questioning as to why I was bashing a rabbit like creature's head in with an over-sized weapon. He hadn't even looked in my direction and I had the balls to ram my hammer up his ass while he was happily grazing on some mushrooms under an icy cliff. I felt some kind of remorse as the creature vomited and drooled while in a daze from my barrage. Every attack the monster made was more desperate than the last, and it always retreated to recuperate at every given chance. It was like a game of cat and mouse, except the cat was carrying a baseball bat and the mouse had thyroid cancer.
This didn't feel like hunting, it felt like slaughter.
Even now when I think about it, the premise of Monster Hunter is kind of brutal. Rather than observe and admire these noble beasts, you're kind of a gun for hire who goes out and slays dozens of rare, exotic animals for the sake of making stylish armor and trinkets. I will admit that in the full games, there is usually a small accompaniment of text that explains the purpose of the quest, but going back and looking at some of them, they feel weak and don't nearly generate a conviction strong enough for me to rampantly slay these wild animals. I guess it took the perspectives of my brother and gal pal to make me see the darker side of Monster Hunter, and how awful it really can be.
Saying all of this, I'm sure I will still get the game. The thing is though, I don't know if I'll ever be able enjoy Monster Hunter like I used to.